Comments 23

building a cucumber trellis

Pickles are an obsession of mine. I’ve been known to eat a whole jar in one sitting.  The absolute best in my opinion are Woodstock Farms Organic Kosher Baby Dill Pickles.  This year, I’ve decided to make my own baby dill pickles.

I have tons of dill sprouting.

Lots of garlic growing.

There are also plenty of harmonie cucumber seedlings thriving that were started indoors and transplanted outside just yesterday.  This cucumber variation is meant for baby gherkins.

Thanks to my dad’s handy skills, I also have two big trellises made of birch scavenged from my parents’ house and lots of hemp twine. These trellises are space savers and they can handle many cucumber plants, which is a good thing because I will need a ton of cucumbers for pickles!

First, you’ll need three long branches from a tree of your choice. I’d suggest at least four feet depending on how tall you’d like your trellises to be and how big your pots are.  The branches we used were somewhere around six feet long.

step 1: Push the three branches down a few inches into the soil.

step 2: Tie a slip knot around one of the branches at the top where you’ll create your “teepee.” Make sure you leave a long tail because you’ll need it later.

step 3
: Loop the twine around each branch, pulling tightly as you loop, finishing with a few extra wraps around all three.

step 4: Tie the end of your twine to the original tail from your slip knot using a square knot (a good knot to use with stiff twine). The top portion of your trellis is complete.

The basic structure is ready.  Now you’ll need to wrap twine around it several times to give the cucumber vines something to grow up.  As you can see, my father doesn’t mess around when he buys twine!

step 5: Tie a knot at the bottom of one of your branches.

step 6: Loop around each branch.  Each time you get to the original branch, tie a half hitch to prevent slipping before continuing on.

step 7: When you get to the top, tie a full knot to secure twine.
Voila, a very wabi-sabi looking cucumber trellis that will hopefully supply many yummy gherkins.

Last thing. Your cucumbers will need a little training.  As they grow, weave the plant in and out of the twine.  They will throw tendrils that will wrap tightly around the twine as they spread out.  You will want to check on them often to help train them up the trellis because they can grow up to four inches per day!

Ps. Special thanks to my father, Bob Anderson, for his help with this post.


  1. Pingback: Fresh Cucumber » building a cucumber trellis | 1 veggie at a time

  2. Wow, love your trellis’s and I hope they fufill their needs. You must let us know what they look like when the cucumbers are out!!

  3. Helen says

    This is exactly the trellis directions I was looking for! I have the sticks, just need to buy some twine and I will be in business. Thanks!

    • I am so glad, Helen! Thanks for reading my post. I will be posting about building a bean trellis soon too-probably next weekend.

  4. Helen says

    Any good suggestions for building a homemade tomato cage? I think the same idea would work, just don’t teepee it. What do you think?

    • My father is the creator of the cuke trellis. I’ve asked him to hook us up with a great tomato system as well, so I’ll be posting something soon. Great idea! I always use those cheapie metal cages but I’ll bet there is something way sturdier that can be made.

  5. Helen says

    By the way! I am known in my circle of family and friends for my really great homemade Dill Pickles. Let me know if you would like my recipe.

    • Helen–YES! Would you let me post the recipe with a picture of you as the guest blogger/recipe creator? I’d like to post a great pickle recipe when the time comes. I’ve never made pickles before and I specifically planted cukes that could be harvested as baby gherkins (as opposed to spears–although spears are great too). I’d love to use and share your recipe. Thanks!

  6. If you’re still looking, I have a suggestion for your tomato trellis. I borrowed an idea from greenhouse-grown tomatos, and drop twine from a wooden pole above my plants. Loosely loop the bottom end of the twine around the tomato plant, and shorten the length as the plant grows. If you get several strong branches, you will need to add twine cords to help support each of them. I do this in my Vermont outdoor garden – see a pic on my blog post: “Views of the Garden, 2011” ( I’m sure it can be easily adapted for patio-based potted tomatos – if no other way, by making tripods at each end of your row of tomato plants and spanning the distance with a stick, as I do for my rows. (I’ll be posting instructions for making the tripods soon, but your dad can probably figure it out quickly.)

    • Terry – I don’t know how I ever missed your comment from YEARS ago now. I’m so sorry – but I really appreciate your note! We’ve moved recently to a place where I can grow a bigger garden, and I will most definitely follow your advice.

      • tbascom says

        no problem, really. i was glad to stumble onto your post. life does get busy! my own gardening has been continually interrupted these last few years, so i’ve accomplished more infrastructure work than food growing – a trend i hope i can finally reverse in 2016.

        a note on my suggestion: i have found that wooden crosspieces will bend under the weight of several fruit-heavy tomato plants. I’ve switched to 5/8″ diameter bamboo, with its much hardier fiber: no bending, even when supporting 5 or 6 indeterminant plants in august.

        i also came across an old method of supporting tomato plants. in the 1800s, farmers made V-shaped trellises about 3 feet wide and high. the pivot point was about 6″ off the ground, and slats were run about every 6″ across its 2 sets of V-shaped supports. The trellis was placed over the tomato plant, which grew up in the center and spread out over the framework. 2 trellises were used to support 3 plants set 18″ apart.

        i’ve made a prototype, and will make several more out of scrap lumber to try this summer. it seems to me to be a great, inexpensive alternative to those metal cages, and easier to set up and take down than the system i’ve been using. and since the collapse, they are easy to store.

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  13. Hmmm, I just posted a comment on the other page (the one with the link to this one), in short I was wondering if a tomato cage would work even though the shape is inverted, if I were to tie twine or something else suitable to the cage to increase the number of places for the plant to latch on to… also I forgot to ask, how many cucumber plants per pot? If more than one, how should they be spaced? Thanks!!

    • Lynda – I’m so sorry. I’ve been away from my blog and I’ve only just seen your comment! Yes – I’ve used tomato cages for cukes and I did exactly what you mentioned. In fact, I found a bunch recently that had old white string tied all over them from using them for cukes. Try to find the largest one you can – the only issue I had with the tomato cage was that the cukes wanted to grow beyond it. That said, they did the same with the trellis also. As for plants per pot – I would place one plant by each leg of the trellis and then one between. It ended up being maybe 3 inches apart or so. I’m sure directions would say that is too close, but it worked – they grow up, not around. Good luck!

  14. Hannah says

    Iv already planted my cucumber plant and it’s fairly big. Is it too late to weave it into a trellis without hurting the plant?

  15. Pingback: 23 Functional Cucumber Trellis Ideas Guaranteed to Boost Your Harvest - Homesteading Alliance

  16. This is something I will do next year! I only started veggie gardening (in pots) this year of the great pandemic (2020), so now in July, I think it is too late to start planting cucumbers here in Northern Ireland. Many thanks.

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